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Thread: Post your SINKEX pictures!

  1. #76
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    An article from The Honolulu Advertiser

    Thursday, July 13, 2006
    Two warships are refusing to say die
    By William Cole
    Advertiser Military Writer

    The USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship, was decommissioned in October 2005.

    The USS Belleau Wood, an aircraft carrier-like ship and the largest to be sunk in Rim of the Pacific naval exercises, was putting up one last fight yesterday 50 miles northwest of O'ahu.

    So was the 511-foot ammunition ship USS Mauna Kea, named after the Big Island landmark and the tallest mountain in the Hawaiian chain.

    Both decommissioned ships were pummeled with missiles and bombs from other ships and aircraft yesterday as the monthlong multi-country naval exercise continued. And both were still afloat in the late afternoon.

    "They are going to keep shooting at them until we run out of whatever ordnance we brought," said Capt. Jill Votaw, a Rimpac spokeswoman.

    The endurance of the vessels is testimony to their design and a rare opportunity to test weapons like missiles at sea. In the case of Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship, the resilience also is a reflection of its sheer size: 833 feet and displacement of 39,300 tons.

    Commodore Bruce Donaldson, commander of the Canadian Fleet Pacific and the Rimpac deputy commander, said that while computer modeling is an important and cost-effective tool, personnel only really can be evaluated under live-fire conditions.

    "Live missile firings also give the ship's technicians and combat teams confidence in their equipment, a critical factor and a morale booster for those who may be called upon to sail into harm's way," Donaldson said in a release.

    Eight nations, more than 40 ships including the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, six submarines, 160 aircraft and almost 19,000 service members are participating in the 20th Rimpac exercise, conducted since 1971 off Hawai'i.

    Canadian ships Algonquin and Vancouver fired SM-2 anti-air and long-range Harpoon missiles in the "sink exercise" involving the Belleau Wood and Mauna Kea.

    An 80-foot sludge removal barge was sunk on Sunday, the Navy said, and the combat stores ship USNS Mars is expected to be sent to the bottom — in this case more than a mile deep — next week.

    At least eight decommissioned Navy ships — most of them frigates and destroyers — have been sunk northwest of Kaua'i since 2000 during Rimpac exercises.

    The USS Mobile Bay, South Korean and Canadian P-3C Orion aircraft, and U.S. Navy aircraft were expected to shoot at the Belleau Wood and Mauna Kea.

    Submarine torpedoes were being reserved "unless nothing else will make it go down," Votaw said. "One well-placed torpedo will take it out."

    Votaw said a ship like the Belleau Wood isn't used for an artificial reef because of the depth in the target area and because "it's not going down in one piece. It's going down, hopefully, in a lot of little pieces."

    To meet environmental standards, all fuel, oil and other fluids are removed and the lines are flushed before sinking. The Navy said its policy is not to release photos of the sink exercises.

    Scott Watson, 41, of Lakeland, Fla., who served on the Belleau Wood from 1986 to 1990, attended the decommissioning in October in San Diego.

    "It's such a big part of your life. It's almost like you grow up on a ship," he said. "You make a lot of good friends."

    In 1992, landing craft and helicopters from the ship delivered trucks, bulldozers, portable toilets, water purification equipment and food to victims of Hurricane Iniki on Kaua'i.

    In 2004, it deployed to the Persian Gulf with helicopters and AV-8B Harrier jump jets. More than 60 combat sorties were flown off its flight deck. Watson went on two Western Pacific deployments.

    Watson is glad the ship is being sunk and not scrapped.

    "It's doing its last duty," he said. "I'd rather see her on the bottom than turned into a bunch of Buicks. It's a more fitting resting place."



    EX-USS BELLEAU WOOD sunk as part of RIMPAC 06 Operations

    “Sank by the Mobil Bay... They fired the first harpoon at her yesterday and today EOD set off bombs. It only took an hour but she's been taking hits all yesterday from the other ships....she just wouldn't sink.” She wasn't designed to sink. She was designed to fight, to stay afloat, and carry her crew through the perils of enemy hostilities. How confusing the last moments must have been for this great lady to have the guns of those she held so dear fire the fatal blows that would carry her to the depths of darkness. May she rest in peace, and may all those who served upon her feel her presence with each misty spray of ocean breeze. Farewell USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA-3).

    Commissioned 23 SEPTEMBER 1978 - Decommissioned 28 OCT 2005


    From Rusty Battleship:
    I worked that ship since the day she reported for home porting at Long Beach. I was the structural project leader for the class. I inspected all of her structures and compared them to the grade A shock tests we did on Tarawa. There were some parts of their design I did not like. Yet there were other parts that pleased me.

    When a freak wave caved in the port side of her bow it was then discovered that Ingalls used the "short arc" (straight polarity) welding of framing and shell plating, thus not getting full 100% penetration. It took 4 availabilities to reinforce all the critical welds. But this was a builder's boo-boo and not really a design fault.

    She was the first of the five ships to have the "fully automatic" boiler and main propulsion machinery computers taken out and replaced with those that had a little more manual control and would not start up all by themselves and pull away from the pier like Tarawa did.

    It also took 3 availabilities to bring her up to Chemical, Biological and Radiological warfare resistance standards.

    Now she's just a target. She could have been sold as a roll-on roll-off vehicle carrier like so many LST's were. The manned monorail hoists in the overhead could move cargo faster than a pinball machine.

    What a waste.

  2. #77
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    Out of the 3 LHA's that were homeported on our coast (Tarawa, Belleau Wood, and Peleliu), the Belleau Wood was in the best shape when it came in for overhauls. More of my work at the bottom of the ocean..... BTW, today at 11 a.m. (Pacific) on TCM (at least scheduled to be shown) is the movie "Here Comes the Navy" the movie shot partially aboard the USS Arizona in 1934.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAL's_pal?
    BTW, today at 11 a.m. (Pacific) on TCM (at least scheduled to be shown) is the movie "Here Comes the Navy" the movie shot partially aboard the USS Arizona in 1934.
    Jimmy Cagney and Gloria Stuart (of Titanic fame). I've been wanting to see that ever since I bought Paul Stillwell's Battleship Arizona book. Sure would be nice if Time Warner would release it on DVD. Apparently there is some excellent footage of the Arizona and the fleet in general.


    USS Belleau Wood being towed out of Pearl Harbor for her date with destiny.
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  4. #79
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship

    The USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship, was decommissioned in October 2005.
    Anyone have an idea why she was decommissioned? All the other ships in the Tarawa class are still going strong. She must have been really FUBAR

    And I agree its a shame to seee such a ship sunk. Especially if she still had some life in her. She could have been used by Homeland security/USCG as Galrahan suggested.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape
    Anyone have an idea why she was decommissioned? All the other ships in the Tarawa class are still going strong. She must have been really FUBAR
    I'm trying to remember what some salty old dog said to me about the Tarawas...I think that it was Peleliu had lousy workmanship from the get-go...and maybe something about Belleau Wood being in pretty good shape. Can't remember...
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape
    And I agree its a shame to seee such a ship sunk. Especially if she still had some life in her. She could have been used by Homeland security/USCG as Galrahan suggested.
    O&M...remember that O&M.

    Still, I refuse to believe that there wasn't something she could have been employed at.

  6. #81
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    While doing some "Fact Checking" on the Iwo. I found that she was sold as scrap (i knew that part) for 140 thousand dollars.

    Holy Crap, I would have bought her for that.

    If we pooled our money, I wonder what we could buy?
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape
    While doing some "Fact Checking" on the Iwo. I found that she was sold as scrap (i knew that part) for 140 thousand dollars.

    Holy Crap, I would have bought her for that.

    If we pooled our money, I wonder what we could buy?
    *sigh* If it were only that easy.

    I (half jokingly) suggested to an older, somewhat wealthy lady friend of mine that she bid on that Juliett-class SSG that was on eBay a few years ago.

    She (half jokingly) countered that perhaps we could put together a consortium of buyers and turn it into a museum ship.

    Only problem with buying USN ships is that you've got to prove to the Navy that you've got the deep pockets and the expertise to take care their castoffs.

  8. #83
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape
    Anyone have an idea why she was decommissioned? All the other ships in the Tarawa class are still going strong. She must have been really FUBAR

    And I agree its a shame to seee such a ship sunk. Especially if she still had some life in her. She could have been used by Homeland security/USCG as Galrahan suggested.
    Actually, of the three Tarawa class ships home ported in Long Beach, she was the best of them all. So why she was picked was probably a political reason.

    Hell, when Peliliu came in (the last of the 5) I found unfinished welds in her, INCLUDING THE INNERBOTTOM SHELL PLATING. No wonder I was so wet when I got back to the office.

  9. #84
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Post

    Yeah its a shame some of these ships should be held for disater relief, red crosss etc etc. Well atleast they will become a home for coral and fish and like you said not just a pile of scrap.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought
    Yeah its a shame some of these ships should be held for disater relief, red crosss etc etc. Well atleast they will become a home for coral and fish and like you said not just a pile of scrap.
    Fish, plausible, but not coral. Far, far too deep for that. That's one of the "nice" things about a sinkex. The standards are lesser for cleanup since the depth reduces the effect of contamination. Want to put a ship down as a reef? Massive cleanup, wire pulling, etc..
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    ("We've lost contact with our spy ship the St. Georges. We sighted floating wreckage this morning."---Leading Admiral
    "That's terrible, Michael. How deep is the water there?"---Minister of Defence Gray
    "Not deep enough!"--1st Sea Lord, (wtte), "For Your Eyes Only")

  11. #86
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    USS Belleau Wood's final moments.
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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Nice shots TH

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    So much for the talk of her being transferred to the royal navy.
    F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenRoethig
    So much for the talk of her being transferred to the royal navy.
    Still got a few left...not in the greatest condition though.

    Perhaps we could interest you in a new-build Wasp-class?

  15. #90
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    tbh the uk should look into shared development of naval vessels with the usa and look at sharing designs and production development.
    we both operate together in theatres of war and we both often require the same task from our ships.

    would save both nations a fair bit of cash and make the most of the over capacity for production that us has atm and help the lack of production capacity in the uk. bring in the french/italians/australians on it too and make some big savings for all

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